Though the general population doesn't think too much about robots as being the future anymore, as much as they did in, say, 1985; the robotics industry is still growing and changing with the times. The average consumer is so captivated with his smartphone, laptop, tablet and e-reader, that he only thinks of robots as expensive kid's toys, coffee makers, Roomba's and the newest special effect in a sci-fi movie. It's as if people just forgot that robots were once the exciting symbol of the future. Computers, the Internet and other technology completely took the place of these guys.
However, the education industry is starting to use robots as teaching tools for kids with special needs like autism and for children without special needs as well. Because it's hard to keep kids' attention sometimes, teaching through robots is proving itself quite effective for helping kids develop social and communication skills. Robots are also helping them identify their own emotions, identify other people's emotions, understand cause and effect, and learn basic foundation subjects like reading, math and science as well.
In addition, young scientists from around the world are still captivated by engineering and learning the skills they can use to develop the robots of tomorrow.
Intellectual Property and Robotics
Just because, the general population is not paying a great deal of attention to the robotics industry now, doesn't mean that it's not important to protect your idea for a consumer market or business industry market targeted robot. However, going about protecting your idea is confusing.
Getting a design patent is an obvious choice, because you want to protect the overall look of your robot and its basic function. Imagine if a company created a miniature robot that looked like a Roomba the size of your average stapler, that consumers could use mainly to clean counters. That wouldn't be right.
However, robotics engineers must consider that every project is different and will need different protection. If you ever feel someone is using part or all of your robotic IP to create their own project, you want to have the right type of protection, so that a judge will understand clearly what's happening and side with you and your team. The best way to protect your robotic IP is to:
- understand the local patent and IP industry;
- understand the consumer market for your design;
- know what you need to do to protect the work you've done.